The re-opened connections between Earth and Kur are at the heart of humankind’s troubles around the time we were learning it was easier to grow food than to catch it, the rift between the Kurian Lifeweavers and the other eight planets widened. The secret preparations of the Kurians began to grow more and more open, but the rest of their civilization, having tried reason without success, was at a loss about what to do next..
Open warfare was inevitable, but it seemed that both sides had more or less forgotten how to go about it. They fought by proxy: the Lifeweavers for the simple reason that they could not do otherwise, and the Kurians because their newfound “immortal” existence made their lives all the more precious. The Kurians began with a great advantage: the Reapers. Because the actual process of killing to obtain the required vital aura requires physical contact with the source, a messy and sometimes dangerous task, the Kurians developed powerful familiars to do their dirty work. Each Kurian could control up to thirteen of these Myrmidons, sensing what it senses and controlling its actions through a psychic link.
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Once the killing began there was no stopping it. Luckily for the Lifeweavers, the first assault by the Kurians was poorly planned because of the initial ease of their first triumphs, they became overextended, and ultimately failed in the attempt to destroy their foes (see “The First Incursion”). A great part of the credit is due to the Lifeweavers on Kur who tried to resist their vampiric brethren. The died to the last, but their sacrifice delayed and diverted the Kurians long enough for the Lifeweavers elsewhere to adapt and plan.
Then it was the Lifeweaver’s turn to err. In an attempt to cauterize the Kurian cancer they shut, and destroyed, all the doors between their worlds regardless of whether they were currently winning or losing the various battles for control of the nine planets. Any chance of a unified response was doomed in this “devil take the hindmost” panic that spread across their civilization. Kur was cut off, but not destroyed. And while the gates on the nine other planets were shut, the ones on Kur were still open…
Interworld Tree connected nine worlds at apogee of the Lifeweaver’s civilization. Later they allowed the Kurians and their forces in in the first place, and occasionally are the portals for more of the same to arrive. How they are opened in the first place is a mystery science has not yet fathomed, we only know it involves the use of a great deal of vital aura, in other words, suffering and death. There are three well known gates in North America: the largest is in Virginia, the oldest in Louisiana (unless you count the now almost three hundred year old one in Haiti), and the most frequently used one is near the California/Nevada border, as the climate in the Southwest and Mexico is very much to the Kurians’ taste.
Not much is known of Kur itself. It is a dark, gloomy planet of heavy clouds where most of the gardens are underground. Tales tell of omnipresent red skies, something the Kurians are still trying to achieve on Earth, and an underground world millions of years old dating back to the Pre-Entities (indeed, some Kurians seem to be searching deep within the bowels of our own Earth for Pre-Entity tunnels, perhaps in the hope of finding lost gates to the rest of the Interworld Tree).
Thousands of years ago humans were sometimes invited to travel the Interworld tree. They saw Ero, the home planet of the Lifeweavers, by all accounts an idyllic, garden and forest filled world of great beauty.
Descriptions of Mes fill a few legends: it is a world of towering spires of rock inhabited by winged men who perhaps formed the basis for visions of angels.
There is also Rulallah (RUL-al-leh), a planet of howling winds, storms and a hard life within stout stone walls.
Korkh may have many climates, but the only one we know of is vast, deep, rugged jungle where the grey-skinned, apelike grogs were developed under triple canopies of vegetation.
The Lifeweavers shut the doors between worlds to halt the Kurian cancer. But if they created new doors to Earth, how many others were constructed elsewhere?
The Lifeweavers picked up the pieces of the Pre-Entity civilization. They trickle down to us as legends of divine angels, prophets, wizards, mysterious demigods and guides to other worlds. At their height, they travelled between nine different habitable planets, populating them as they saw fit with beautiful and useful creations. For that is the Lifeweavers’ one overarching talent: the ability to shape DNA as Michaelangelo shaped marble. There is no doubt that they have a special place in their scheme for man. Whether they created, modified, or simply used us is a matter of some contention. But undoubtedly they made contact with the first ragged human societies many thousands of years ago. We built temples to honor them, wrote songs and poems exalting them, and in return they bestowed on us the occasional gift, or took a talented poet or two on a trip to another world. And who can blame our forebears for worshiping them? The could take on the appearance of a flaming Phoenix as easily as you or I change our clothes. They typically appeared to us in human form, albeit exceptionally large and attractive. Their technology met the threshold of being so advanced as to appear magical.
We do not know much about Lifeweaver culture or history, save that by the time they interacted with us they had solved many of the problems that have dogged man through the ages. Hunger, disease, war, crime and above all fear were apparently eliminated so long ago that the words for them were considered an arcane part of their vocabulary. In their pride, and to their lasting sorrow, the Lifeweavers delved deeply into the knowledge of the Pre-Entities. A large collection of touchstones was discovered on the planet Kur, one of the nine worlds of the Lifeweaver span. The probing scientists gained the ability to make use of the vital auras on which the Pre-Entities fed. The first hint of the schism that doomed the Lifeweaver civilization came about during debates over what to do with this new-found knowledge. “A miraculous cup has appeared to us, wanderers in a desert, a cup that does not empty” Dar-Al-Milinin-Kur, one of the chief proponents of adapting to extending their lifespans through the use of vital auras, argued at the Third Council. “For our ability to travel, to learn, and to grow is limited by our lifespan as surely as one’s ability to cross a desert is limited by the water supply.” However the majority argued that Those-Who-Came-Before (the Pre-Entities) had tried that road before, and it ultimately destroyed them. But Dar-Al-Milinin-Kur and his associates would not be dissuaded despite the weight of opinion against them. They raced against their own lifespans to acquire, largely in secret, the key to making use of other being’s vital auras.
And tragically, they succeeded.
It is hard to say much about the Pre-Entities, save that they existed. As the existence of the Moon can be proven by ocean tides, we extrapolate much of what we know about them by the effects of their one-time presence. They left the gates of the Interworld Tree, and their knowledge in the form of touchstones. From the size of the gates we can guess that they were roughly elephant sized, for that is the smallest of the gates so far discovered. The gates allowed the Pre-Entities instantaneous transport between worlds, although transport may not be the correct world, the physicist-philosophers among the Lifeweavers think the gates connect planets the same way your garage door allows you to access your car without the tedious trip outside.
The touchstones are even more fascinating, and equally more dangerous to use. They are nondescript stones, usually triangular, which pass their knowledge to one who touches them in a flash. This instantaneous download, to use a late twentieth century term, is enough to overthrow almost all human minds and even the Lifeweaver’s formidable intellects. But for those who experience what can only be described as a revelation with reason intact, an impression of the Pre-Entities remains: that of sightless, giant wormlike creatures with a manipulative fringe of short tentacles surrounding their maws, and a confusing group of multiple brains each with distinct personalities and functions. But perhaps the multiple brain impression is a false one, for it is thought that the Pre-Entities communicated telepathically.
Now we must delve into realms that even the science of the Lifeweavers has not yet fully explained. The Pre-Entities fed off of the vital auras of living cell matter. The amount of auric energy obtained from a being depended on two things: physical size and intelligence. Thus a mouse is more nutritious in terms of vital aura than an oak tree, and a chimpanzee outweighs a bull in terms of his vital aura.
A thing that feeds off vital auras achieves near immortality. It is believed the Pre-Entities had lifespans of millions of years. And therein was their downfall, for their protracted lifespan forced them to stop reproducing to keep from exhausting their food supply. And since the gulf between near immortality and immortality is as infinite as the definition of pi, they began to die out. More and more vital aura was required to maintain the Pre-Entities in the twilight of their long lives, and the fear of death in beings which have lived so long can only be postulated. They went out in a final orgy of self-destruction, depopulating worlds as they scoured them clean of life. It is thought that the dinosaurs on Earth disappeared in the waning of the Pre-Entities. Finally they turned on each other in their last need. Whether the last Pre-Entity left a touchstone with its final thoughts is unknown, but the Lifeweavers think it would be a fascinating experience and the ultimate find. I personally disagree, believing its final thoughts might have been as sad and simple as Dr. Seuss’ Once-Ler’s from The Lorax.
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